By:  Debbie Brown

Pressure, strain, tension, STRESS! There are so many things in life that can cause stress. It can be triggered by starting a new job, transitioning into retirement, losing a loved one, having to live alone, moving, etc. Regardless of the reason, stress is very real and often mature adults are affected by stress because of the many transitions that they go through as they enter the next phase of their lives.

At times it seems nearly impossible to avoid stress, but that doesn’t mean that you must lead a miserable life and let stress take over. While it’s important to combat the stressors in your life, it’s equally as important to learn how to effectively handle the stress.

I’ve worked with seniors for a number of years and have witnessed many people go through significant life-changing events that can exasperate stress.  I have a number of tricks that I often try to share with those around me or use myself.  I think the best way to manage stress is to stay as positive as possible.

Other tips to mitigate stress include:

  • Avoid the ‘I woke up on the wrong side of the bed’ mentality. A bad mood leads to a negative interpretation of everyday events. Generally, there’s a sunny side, you just have to look for it.
  • Stress is most often in the eyes of the beholder. Think positively. You’ll feel healthier and will be better equipped to cope with whatever comes your way.
  • Don’t dwell on what is causing you stress as you fall asleep at night. Think of the positive things in your life – you’ll have a much better sleep and chances are you’ll wake up in a better mood.
  • Stress begets stress. Lose the ‘Debbie Downer’ attitude; again focus on thinking positively.
  • Choose your friends, coffee pals, lunch mates carefully. Peer to peer bullying is common in older adult communities and senior centres. Avoid the people that may be adding to your stress and find someone else to have meals with. Of course, if the behaviour continues, confide in someone that you can trust.
  • And, last but not least, smile! Being pleasant and smiling, even when you don’t feel it, gives you less to be upset and angry about. Plus, if you smile and are kind to others, people will most often smile back and be kind to you in return, which can help to lift your spirits.